Ethical will, “list” style, by a vet
Another sample ethical will for those of you who want to see more but haven’t made it to the Resources page. For folks who want a simple, straightforward format to help organize their thoughts this “List” style is very effective — you be the judge. If this had been your uncle, would you have preferred to read it while he was alive, or after he had passed away? What difference, if any, would it have made to you?
To my family and friends and all those I love:
I am not big on words. But I want to tell you some things, maybe explain a few things. Maybe this letter can be passed on to my nieces and nephews because I would like them to know who I am.
1. Values. I value honesty, friendship, hard work, respect for others, and giving a helping hand to other hardworking honest people.
2. Work: I think it is important to work hard at what you do. Maybe it won’t be your dream job. Not everyone is lucky in life. But anyone can do a good job if they try hard enough.
3. Women. I was lucky enough to meet the only woman for me. I was unlucky that she died before we could be married. When you find the one for you marry her and respect her and I hope you have love.
4. Family. To my nephew Peter — thank you for your friendship. I am leaving my fishing gear to you. You were the one who now and then spent a weekend with me. Maybe no one else liked fishing much.
5. The hospital. I never told anyone why I was in the hospital. When I came home from the war it felt like the war came home with me. I guess I didn’t do so well getting back to being a civilian. I had a good doctor there. But maybe this will help you understand me better. Why I always avoided parades and fireworks. Why I always gave money to homeless guys you maybe thought were bums. Some of them were vets. “There but for the grace of God go I.”
6. Apologies: I hope I have not hurt anyone at least not too much. Please forgive me. I try to forgive when others hurt me. It’s hard to do sometimes. But it is important. I am truly sorry for any offense given.
7. Humor: To my niece Stephanie — thank you for all your jokes. I don’t talk much and I don’t laugh easily. But on the inside I was always enjoying your humor. I think it is a wonderful trait to have. I am sorry I did not have more of it.
8. Love: I have loved all of you as best I can. I hope my actions have shown it to you. I have tried to be generous in my deeds.
I hope each of you will give what you can in the world too. And look for the good in others even when it may be camouflaged.
Roger W. Anderson (not real name) October 1, 2006 Boston, MA